Remember how much fun it was to burn people--not literally, of course, but metaphorically? You know, when you'd sneak up behind someone, yank their shorts down and yell, "Burn!" Or hurl water at someone as you run by? Those were good times, my teenage years.
Cut to me yesterday, walking down the stairs of my apartment off to a gig as my friend, coincidentally, starts walking upstairs. We meet about three quarters of the way down and he fake slaps me (as in not hard). To get him back, I do the same thing, only as my hand swings around to hit him, my feet don't want to cooperate and somehow lose my footing and fall down the stairs. I don't fall head over heels or anything; I just end up at the base of the stairs, more or less unscathed. I'm missing some skin off the top of my left foot, right knee and left hand index finger. I'm pretty sure the finger injury occured when my left armed flailed upwards to try and grab the railing, but scraped against the wall instead. How did I scrape the top of my foot? I have no idea. All I know is that I looked ridiculous.
As this is happening, my downstairs neighbor rounds the corner with his dog. He has that look on his face that says, "Is everything all right?" and then he asks, "Are you all right?" I say yes without making eye contact. The fall must have been loud because my upstairs neighbor pokes her head out the door, "Is everything okay?" So pretty much everyone in my building happens to be around when I make an ass of my self.
There's nothing worse than hurting yourself when there are witnesses, especially when the cause of said injury owes itself to your clumsiness. The pain of being seen is always twice as painful as the physical pain.
At a certain company that I used to work, the game room was pretty much a glass room, including the doors. If you're not careful it's easy to mistakenly walk into the door thinking it's open when it's not. So this one day my boss was walking at his usual fast pace, on some kind of mission, and he smacks into the glass. Face first. Hard. He falls down, his nose is bleeding and it's serious enough that he has to go to the doctor to get his nose looked at. I forget if he broke it or not. My first question, when I find out about it, isn't whether he's okay, but whether or not there were any people in the game room. There were. Ooh. Ouch. And then, when I thought about it more, I started laughing as I pictured him slamming into the glass. Couldn't help it.
People running into glass is funny. People falling down stairs is funny. Mothers falling off stools=funny, even if they don't see it that way. When I was in junior high my mom was standing on a stool in the kitchen to get something out of the cupboard. The stool slips, she ends up on the ground, I have to put my best, "Are you okay?" face on to share my concern. I could barely say the words without laughing, and my friend was in the hall laughing. I could see her but my mother couldn't. So I'm fighting back the laughter and she's goading me and my mom is pissed that I could be so callous.
What can you do? It's funny. Except when it happens to you, like it did to me, yesterday.